Aileena started radiation treatment December 8, 2009. We’ve been anxious to get this started- so we can get it over with. The sessions go very smoothly. The appointment is at 3:30 each day (Monday to Friday). Aileena gets out of school about 1 hour before, drives up to the University of Washington, checks in and usually is in the treatment room within 5 minutes. The treatment itself is only about 10 minutes including set up. Then we head one hour back home. The UW has free valet parking which is very nice- they can't even take a tip. We gave them a big box of chocolates for Christmas. Because the appointments are so short, the valet guys usually just leave the car waiting for us, which is really nice. Aileena listens to High School Musical during the treatments and doesn't seem to mind them at all. The treatments will end January 22. She did get Christmas off and will get New Years off too. We meet with the doctor every Monday for a status. The side effects are typically nausea and fatigue, but so far that hasn't bothered her, which is a great sign half way through treatment. The only side effect is that she lost a bunch of her hair on her left side over the last three days, but that was expected. It doesn't seem to bother her and she is taking everything in stride. So far, it is still like nothing ever happened. She hasn’t missed a beat at school and her teacher reports that she doesn’t see any impact from all of this.
Aileena continues to handle this without any problems. Her biggest melt downs are wanting to go back to the hospital- that place where you have your own room, balloons, stuffed animals, games, your own TV, movies on the laptop, meals in bed, your own bathroom, Mom and Dad to yourself, and all the attention in the world. Couldn’t we all be so lucky! At home, she has four siblings to compete with! We just remind her about the shots, tubes in the arms, being woken up at all hours, etc. But, that isn’t very persuasive argument in her mind. For her birthday party last month, her friends brought gifts for donating to Children’s Hospital. Patrick's Kiwanis Club kicked in and we ended filling our large SUV full of toys! Children’s Hospital was amazed at all the great gifts, and Aileena reports she felt like Santa Claus. It was a great experience for her.
We are hitting that point in which we hope life becomes uneventful and cancer free. Our doctor told us this past week that once treatment is over, we can start using the word "cured"- which is defined as no evidence of disease. We like that word! But, we’ll take it one day at a time. We appreciate all your continued thoughts and prayers. Your inquiries are appreciated and not at all intrusive. Your asking how things are going, and comments about your ongoing prayers don’t intrude, but rather lift us up and give us a great emotional boost to know that so many of you are taking an interest in our family. If you know others that are battling illness or other difficulties in life- give them a call or send them a card and let them know you care. It could make a tremendous change in their life for good.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We hope you are all blessed with great happiness, joy, family, friends and success this Christmas and in the year to come.
Here is a picture of Aileena's radiation mask. It's used to hold her head perfectly still and allows the technicians to line up the radiation machine in the exact same position each day: